Sunday, September 25, 2005

The "Friend" Category

Redfield Q & A
The "Friend" Category
By Bryan Redfield


Bryan, I read your article, "She only wants to be friends?" and it hit very close to home. I am a single woman in my early 20's and I have a male friend who is obviously falling for me.

I have known him for about a year, but we have only been acquaintances until recently. As I started to get to know him better, he fell into my "friend" category. Unfortunately, I didn't fall into his. He wants to persue a reltionship with me.

I have told him on more than one occasion that he is a good friend and that I am interested in someone else. He is still not giving up. His friends told me that all he does is talk about me and I'm the only one he is interested in.

I would like to keep him as a friend, but I'm afraid the best thing I can do is keep away from him. How can I make this situation easier on the both of us?


You're basically asking me three questions:

1) How can I keep someone as a friend that I am not interested in sexually who wants to have sex with me?

2) How can I make it easier on both of us?

3) Should I just stay away from him?

Let's take your third question first.

For you to avoid him sets up a dangerous pattern for your future behavior in all areas of your life, personally and professionally, because you are running away from the problem instead of dealing with it head on.

By running away you are surrendering control to someone else. This is never good for you because you will eventually end up feeling victimized and blame outside sources (boyfriend, ex- boyfriend, lover, ex-lover, guys-who-won't-leave-you-alone, bosses, etc.) for your problems.

He already knows you're not interested in him, yet he still pursues you. Based on his behavior, what is he telling you? Quite simply that he doesn't respect you as a human being and that he is going to continue chasing you until he either gets you in bed or loses interest in you. Regardless of which it is, he obviously doesn't care about you as a person or he'd stop chasing you romantically against your will.

He knows you want to be friends with him, but not lovers. He knows you aren't sure of how to handle this situation. And he knows you want people to like you.

Bearing that in mind, let's get to your first question, which is: How can you stay friends with him. You can't be true friends with someone who's main desire is to get you in bed when the feeling isn't mutual because everything he says and does is going to revolve around breaking down your resistance.

From what you have said, you've been very straightforward and honest in letting him know you like him as a friend, but romantically there is no interest. And he won't get the message. It's unlikely you'll be able to stay friends with him because that isn't what he wants. Since I don't know how you told him, I'll take it from Square One and cover all the bases.

One of the most important things I teach my students is: Any healthy relationship is based on respect. Respect for who the other person is and what they want. Everything else flows from that one, basic foundation piece.

Another major lesson I teach my students, once I've taught them the fundamentals of effective communication, is: What you do is no reflection on the other person and what they do is no reflection on you.

So how do you handle him using class, style and dignity?

When you see him and he compliments you, smile in a non-sexual way, politely and sincerely thank him for the compliment, and then continue doing whatever it was you were doing as if nothing happened. Don't talk down to him or be rude in any way. That just makes you look bad and lowers you to his level. Whether he's a nice guy or a jerk, no matter how subtle or graphic he chooses to get with his language or behavior, if you have this attitude, one of casual friendliness, you will always look good and he will eventually end up looking very stupid, even to his best friends. And his friends will have to stand there in awe and say, "Boy, this woman has class." Because, no matter what he does, you've maintained your dignity.

Sit down quietly alone with him and, in a warm, loving way, say, "I really value our friendship and I don't want to lose it so I need your help. What do I need to do to let you know in a nice, loving way I'm not interested in you romantically or sexually? I want to be able to tell you this in a way that doesn't hurt our friendship. But if our friendship rides on my becoming your girlfriend, we're going to have to end our friendship because that isn't what I want. How can we work this out?" And see what he says. If he really is your friend, he'll understand and accept it. If he isn't, he'll persist.

Your second question, how can you make it easier on both of you? Unfortunately, you can't. Because in this situation there is going to be a winner and a loser. One of you is going to get what you want and the other isn't. If he takes losing gracefully and with a certain level of maturity, you can stay friends with him. But this is unlikely because he's told all of his friends how he feels about you and he's refused to take your hints so far. This isn't the mark of a mature man.

Good luck and God Bless.

Bryan Redfield
Put the dating successes of over 10,000 single men and women and to work for you. Visit Bryan's website at:

This advice column is copyright 1999 - 2005 by Bryan Redfield.

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